Growing – Feeding – Building Community

In on urban food workshop on December 12, 2020, we developed solutions that empower communities and the individual, covering how to grow food, how to prepare nourishing meals and how to build community.

With the current social climate, it has become imperative that the lack of food access is addressed. And this is not just about not being hungry, this is about getting the right nutrients so we can be strong and healthy or whatever we want to be. Healthy food is not a luxury. We call for food justice. Now.

Rewatch our online workshop and come out empowered and food fierce. We covered the specifics for growing in an urban environment; the challenge of preparing healthy meals based on healthy ingredients; and how this links to food security and building community.

Our sessions:

  • The Future of Food Security (with Seth Wheeler
    • Where are we now? 
    • What are the solutions? 
    • What are some Innovations needed down the road?
    • Clearing house for general farm work that’s needed
  • Growing Local (with Floyd Godsey II
    • The Increasing need for local Urban Farms – and the need for more small farms (Homestead 2.0) 
    • Historical reference- victory gardens – Guerilla gardening – 
    • Securing land
    • Coordinating with local institutions (government and community  organizations) 
    • How to grow at home- small spaces 
    • Root Vegetables- hardy veggies 
  • How to Cook? (with Crystal Forman
    •  Why is this important? 
      • If we are going to make this shift to growing locally, we must also shift how we shop, prepare, and cook our foods. 
    • Knowing what’s in season 
    • Know Where to Buy Local
    • Adapt Recipes
    • Advantages of local food systems 
    • How local Food Affects the economy 
  • Followed by a panel discussion with all our speakers:
    Farming for profit vs farming for pleasure and need |
    Building farming cooperatives for farmers in an urban setting

Moderated by Max Gruenig.

Our speakers:

Crystal Forman 

Crystal L. Forman, MPH, MHA is the owner and educator of Holistic Wellness and Health. She is a passionate health and wellness educator who uses a plant-based approach to focus on disease prevention education and health & wellness outreach programs. Her whole person approach focuses on mind, body and spirit and integrates health, fitness and wellness to improve the quality of life for all beings. She offers healthy plant-based cooking classes, wellness workshops, gardening consultation, health coaching and meditation. Crystal also works to improve food justice, food sovereignty and sustainable food access. She teaches people how to use “rescued” food, ugly food and food they might not be familiar with cooking. Rescued food is useful but unsellable food that has been prevented from going to landfills and to incinerators. Crystal recognizes we have the power to make environmental, ethical and societal changes by carefully choosing what we put on our plate. Food inequity, poor food quality and inhumane labor can be traced to conventional farming practices that cause extreme environmental harm. Crystal teaches us that we can easily have a regenerative and conscious lifestyle.

Crystal is an avid forager, gardener and volunteer urban farmer. She loves teaching foraging, wild food cooking and farm to plate activities. Crystal is also a certified Permaculture Designer and a certified Baltimore City Master Gardener.

Seth Wheeler 

Seth works professionally as a Project Manager and consultant specializing in organizational development and low impact solutions for ecological restoration, sustainable agricultural innovations and novel renewable energy systems. Seth has provided design and build services for several regional organizations including; Civic Works, Living Classrooms, Blue Water Baltimore, Parks & People, University of District of Columbia, Virginia State University, The National Arboretum and more. Seth has also developed emergency food and energy systems for Haiti, Liberia and Libya as well as novel innovations for NASA, D.O.D., US Forest Service and many more. Seth is devoted to implementing high efficiency agricultural solutions, stormwater management and erosion control projects throughout the region in an effort to minimize erosion and negative impacts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and revitalize our regional ecosystem while developing sustainable workforce development and farming initiatives.

In the U.S. Army, Seth served as a member of the US Army Security Force, a specialized unit assigned to personnel and resource security in and around the Military District of Washington with a focus on continuity of government. Later assigned to The Old Guard, he was a personal escort to the President and worked directly with executive administration and defense administration staff in various capacities around security, training, development and tactical cohesion. On a regular basis, he works with global contractors for: security, communication, construction, energy systems, logistics and more with contractors experienced at providing services for city, county and state level responses, as well as facility controls and escort security for VIPs.

As a passionate promoter of responsible stewardship and resiliency, Seth has also devoted his time to many city based greening and educational efforts over the last two decades, helping start grassroots organizations, building school gardens and more. He has taught seasonal farming classes for middle and high school students in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development at ACCE and Independence Schools and built several other school gardens as workshops for several elementary schools in the area. He also helped establish the Baltimore Free Farm, a community agriculture focused program distributing free food to the community and has worked closely with neighborhood improvement associations replanting vacant lots. By coordinating conservation focused leases and developing resources to responsibly steward the land through collaborations with local programs, he has been able to effectively implement soil and forestry management programs on the land to increase wildlife habitat and soil conservation while effectively managing invasive species control efforts.

In partnership with the Constellation Kids program and Parks & People Foundation and other organizations, he has worked alongside countless city elementary school students, building gardens and planting many thousands of seedlings. Additional pictures of his work and resume can be found at: 

Combining a rapid distribution effort with education and community outreach, Seth hopes to stimulate economic activity, further promoting resilience for farmers and local businesses and is excited to bring this pragmatic experience to the team for this and future projects.

Floyd Godsey II

Floyd Godsey serves as a project manager for NaturalWind Energy & Earth Works. He is a social entrepreneur focused on transforming communities through urban farming, and wants to help develop solutions that will increase the availability of healthy food options. Floyd has been officially gardening since 2014. While Living in Baltimore (Maryland) he has worked as a farm manager for various urban farms in the areas.